This page is our team’s research into food forest understory plantings. It includes food forest understory plant pictures, descriptions, cultural considerations, planting guidelines, and links to additional information. For food forest creation information visit the Food Forest Open Source Hub. The Food Forest Open Source Hub is also where you can find the results of our research into complete purchasing details for all plants listed on this page. These food forest understory plantings could work elsewhere but were chosen primarily for USDA zone 7a-7b.
This page is divided into the following sections:
Listed below are descriptions of each of the food forest understory plants we will be growing. Where genera are listed, it indicates that more than one species of that genus would be useful. Individual species listings indicate that the species in question has attributes of interest that are unique to the species. Those listing with a (†) indicate that these entries may be marginally adaptable onsite, and should therefore be considered experimental.
Placing individual species in their appropriate locations will need wait until we are on the property. We are saving this decision process until we are onsite because of the complex matrix of plant needs that must take in the specifics of the different areas of the property for maximum benefit. This includes sun and shade requirements, cold hardiness, soil and drainage preferences, ultimate size of the plant, allelopathic considerations, winter shadows, proximity to buildings or other structures, etc. These things combine to make placement a nearly case-by-case decision. In an effort to maximize the stability, beauty, productivity and self replication of the ecosystem we hope to create, we will employ (and open source share) as many of these and other design criteria as possible in the development and placement of all plantings at One Community.
Understory species are those plants whose ultimate height is never as tall as the canopy species in that species assembly. Many understory species have evolved to tolerate a certain amount of shade. Some species require shade and do poorly or fail in direct sun. Understory species generally have a higher moisture requirement that pioneering edge species. Here is the current list of planned understory species for the One Community food forest:
Cole’s wattle is a fast growing, short-lived, nitrogen fixing shrub in the Leguminosae native to Australia. It has been widely planted as a multipurpose tree, particularly in Africa. The seeds are edible, containing 21% protein, 10% fat and 57% carbohydrate. It is useful as windbreak, fuel, soil improvement, and human and animal food. Cold hardiness is not well documented, so it must be considered experimental for One Community.
We will grow Cole’s wattle in any suitable site.
Young seedling should be planted out directly as soon as the last threat of frost is past. Seedlings should be inoculated with Rhizobium to initiate N-fixation, and speed growth rates. Mulch to conserve moisture. It may be that the plants put on sufficient growth that even if they are killed the first winter they will have accomplished their role as pioneer species.
Actinidia is a genus of 60 species of shrubs and woody vines in the Actinidiaceae, native to Asia. They are mostly dioecious, rarely monoecious deciduous plants that produce edible berries ranging from the size of a cherry to that of a plum. They were originally cultivated in China for centuries and have been growing in popularity abroad since gaining the attention of western horticulturists in the 1960’s.
We will grow kiwi in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Regular irrigation should continue until signs of new growth appear.
Apios americana is a species of perennial vine in the Fabaceae, native to eastern North America. The plant bears edible beans and edible tubers, high in starch and with more protein than potatoes. They were an important food resource for many Native American tribes. There is currently work underway by Prof. Blackmon at LSU to develop the species for commercial cultivation.
We will grow Apios americana in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Regular irrigation should continue until signs of new growth appear.
Apios priceana is a species of perennial vine in the Fabaceae, native to eastern North America. The plant bears edible beans and edible tubers, high in starch and with more protein than potatoes. The plant is only known from 25 populations in Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It is federally listed as threatened. The beans and tubers were eaten like Apios americana.
We will grow Apios priceana in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Regular irrigation should continue until signs of new growth appear.
Aralia is the type genus of the Araliaceae and contains 68 accepted species, native to temperate to subtropical woodlands of North America and Asia. They range from herbaceous plants 1 foot in height to trees to 60 feet. Spikenard have compound leaves clustered at the branch tips and are often armed with spines on the trunks and branches. Fruit is generally a fleshy berry eaten by birds. Many Aralia are used medicinally.
We will grow Aralia any suitable location.*
Add compost or leaf mold to the planting area, but avoid manure. Water transplants in well and mulch thoroughly. Irrigate at regular intervals until signs of new growth appear.
Arctostaphylos is a genus of approximately 60 species of woody perennials in the Ericaceae, native mainly to western North America. They range from creeping mat-forming species, to shrubs to small trees to 20 feet in height. The small berries are edible although somewhat dry. They were an important food source for many California tribes. The leaves are used medicinally to treat urinary infections.
We will grow Arctostaphylos in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting. Water in the first season after planting only if plants show signs of drying out.
Aristotelia is a genus of 18 species of perennial evergreen dioecious shrubs and trees in the Elaeocarpaceae, native mainly to Chile and Argentina. They grow to 15 feet with coriaceous leaves and small white unisexual flowers; these are followed by red to blue berries. They are eaten fresh or made into wine, and are high in anthocyanins. Many parts of the plant are used medicinally.
We will grow maqui berry in any suitable location.*
Aronia is a genus of 2 or 3 species in the Rosaceae, native to the eastern U.S. and widely naturalized in Europe. They are shrubs 8-10 feet in height, growing under larger forest trees or at forest margins. The fruits are high in sugar, acid (due to the high Vitamin C content) with a level of astringency (due to the high levels of anthocyanins and other antioxidants). Chokeberry has been commercialized in recent years as a health food.
We will grow Aronia in any suitable location.*
The pawpaw is a small tree to 25-35 feet in the Annonaceae, native to the eastern half of North America. It is an understory tree in floodplain habitats or along watercourses. Asimina is the only temperate zone genus in the otherwise tropical Annonaceae. Pawpaw is the largest fruit native to North America. The flowers have the scent of carrion, and are pollinated by flies.
We will grow Asimina in any suitable location.*
Trees form a deep taproot; great care must be taken to avoid disturbing this when transplanting. Mulching and supplemental irrigation when young are beneficial.
Bacopa is a genus of approximately 100 species of amphibious or aquatic plants in the Plantaginaceae, mainly native to subtropical to tropical areas of the Americas. They are herbaceous annuals or perennials. The aquatic species are popular aquarium plants. One species, B. monnieri, is used in Ayurvedic medicine. In vivo tests have shown regular administration enhances memory.
We will grow Bacopa in any suitable location.*
Bacopa can be placed in wet soil after the last frost. Soil should be kept constantly moist. The plant will not withstand frost, and should be treated as an annual at the One Community site.
Billardiera is a genus of 25 species of twining vines or sprawling shrubs in the Pittosporaceae, endemic to Australia. Found in forest woodland or in meadows their pendant flowers have purple, red or yellow edible fruits to 1 inch long. Eaten by aboriginal Australians for centuries;but now gaining attention as a cultivated “bushfood” crop.
We will grow appleberry in any suitable location.*
Boquila is a monotypic genus in the Lardizabalaceae, native to Chile. It is a vine growing to 8 feet in temperate woodlands, with evergreen, fluted, trifoliate leaves. The vines produce clusters of small, cup-shaped flowers followed by attractive, pure white berries, which are picked like cherries by Chileans. Pilpil is a good addition to the all-too-limited number of smaller evergreen vines available.
We will grow Boquila in any suitable location.*
Transplanted vines should be mulched thoroughly and watered in well. Regular irrigation should be continued until signs of new growth appear. Water should be withdrawn as fall approaches to harden the plants for winter.
Campanula is a genus of approximately 500 species in the Campanulaceae, native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They are annual, biennial, or perennial plants ranging from small alpine creepers to robust species to 6 feet. Some species, such as Campanula rapunculus, have edible leaves and roots that were a popular vegetable in Europe hundreds of years ago.
We will grow Campanula in any suitable location.*
Ceanothus is a genus of approximately 60 species of shrubby perennials in the Rhamnaceae, native to North America, especially California. They are evergreen to deciduous, with dense clusters of white, blue, or purple flowers, often fragrant. The leaves are important wildlife browse and have been used medicinally. The branches were used in basketry by the Miwok people of California.
We will grow Ceanothus in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Avoid overwatering as plants are subject to root rot if kept too moist.
Cephalotaxus is a genus of 11 species of conifers in the Cephalotaxaceae native to eastern Asia. They are shrubs to small trees to 30 feet. Species are monoecious or dioecious. They are unusual among conifers in having a fleshy covering to the seed cones, a dispersal strategy in which squirrels and other mammals carry the fruits away from the parent tree to germinate. These fruits have been eaten by humans and used medicinally.
We will grow Cephalotaxus in any suitable location.*
Trees should be planted in a shady location, or artificial shade provided for the first few years in hot summer climates. Soil should be amended before planting with well-aged compost or other organic matter. Newly transplanted trees should be watered in well and given regular irrigation until signs of new growth appear.
Claytonia is a genus of 26 species of herbaceous annual and perennial plants in the Montiaceae, mainly native to North America. One species, Claytonia perfoliata, became known as “miner’s lettuce” because it was an important source of green to California gold miners. The leaves are high in Vitamin C, and can help to prevent scurvy, but the older plants can also accumulate oxalates and become astringent.
We will grow Claytonia in any suitable location.*
Plants can be set out in early spring as soon as the last frost is over. Mulch to conserve moisture, and do not allow the plants to dry out completely.
Codonopsis is a genus of 55 species of herbaceous perennial in the Campanulaceae, native to eastern Asia. They are generally 1-2 feet tall, and spread out to 6 feet wide, often by twining stems. The showy bell-shaped flowers have caused the plant to become widely planted in Europe and the U.S. as an ornamental. The carrot-like roots are eaten, and are a valued tonic herb in TCM.
We will grow Codonopsis in any suitable location.*
Cornus is a genus of approximately 60 species of trees and shrubs in the Cornaceae, native to temperate Eurasia and North America. They are generally deciduous trees or shrubs, occasionally evergreen. They produce edible fruits, called cornels, that are cultivated in parts of Europe. They are eaten fresh after ripening off the tree (‘bletting’) or made into preserves or wine.
We will grow Cornus in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Regular irrigation should continue until signs of new growth appear. Reduce water in the fall.
Corylopsis is a genus of 26 accepted species in the Hamamelidaceae, native to China and Japan. They are woody perennial shrubs, 6 to 20 feet in height. The fragrant flowers are in pendant racemes and bloom early in the spring. The species are used medicinally in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Chemical analysis has isolated a number of bioactive compounds with antiviral activity.
We will grow Corylopsis in any suitable location.*
Plants should be planted in a shaded site in spring. Mulch thoroughly and water in well. Continue regular irrigation until new growth begins.
Corylus is a genus of 18 species variously placed in the Betulaceae or Corylaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are large deciduous shrubs or trees to 120 feet that produce edible nuts (hazel nuts). The shrubby species can be coppiced, producing long flexible shoots that are woven into fencing or baskets. The hazel has been used medicinally by Native Americans.
We will grow hazel in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Regular irrigation should continue until signs of new growth appears.
Cyanotis is a genus of approximately 60 species of annual or perennial plants in the Commelinaceae, native mainly to Africa, but also Australia and Asia. They are low sprawling herbaceous perennials. Several are used in herbal medicine, and studies have shown that the plants produce a number of sterols. These compounds maybe useful as insect repellants or anti-feeding compounds, similar to the neem tree.
We will grow Cyanotis in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Irrigate sparingly until signs of new growth appear.
Cydonia is a monotypic genus in the Rosaceae, native to southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia. It is a large deciduous shrub or small tree to 25 feet. The large white to pale pink flowers have fruit, resembling a large yellow apple. The fruit are hard when ripe and must be softened off the tree. They are generally eaten cooked; their aromatic nature adds flavor to other fruits.
We will grow quince in any suitable location.*
Dovyalis is a genus of 17 accepted species in the Flacourtiaceae, native to Africa and India. They are dioecious evergreen or briefly deciduous shrubs to 15 feet in height and are low branching with long woody spines in the leaf axils. The juicy fruits are a yellow, red or purple fleshy edible berry ¼ inch to 2 inches in diameter. Tropical apricots have a tart to subacid flavor, and are eaten fresh or made into preserves.
We will grow Dovyalis spp. in any suitable location.*
Plants should be planted out after last frost. Mulch thoroughly and water in well. Continue irregular deep irrigation until signs of new growth appear.
Eleutherococcus is a genus of 38 species of shrubs or small trees in the Araliaceae, native to eastern Asia. They range from 8 to 30 feet in height, and are often armed with thorns. The roots are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to treat fatigue, and as an immune tonic; they contain compounds named eleutherosides. The leaves and young buds are collected from the forest as a vegetable.
We will grow Eleutherococcus in any suitable location.*
Empetrum is a genus of 4 species of mat forming ground covers now included in the Ericaceae. These dwarf evergreen shrubs are native to north temperate to subarctic regions, and also in the southern Andes of South America. The dark purple berries are an important food to people in these regions. The leaves and stems have a history of medicinal use.
We will grow crowberry in any suitable location.*
The loquat is a small evergreen tree to 20 feet or smaller in the Rosaceae native to Japan and China. The leaves are shiney, deep green, in whorls at the branch tips. The flowers are also borne in panicles at the ends of the branch tip, and have a fragrant, honey-like aroma. These are followed by the fruit in clusters, yellow to orange, oval, 1-2” long with one or more seeds. New growth is tomentose.
Loquats have a thin skin covering the orange juicy subacid flesh. Skin can be eaten with the flesh but for commercial processing skins are removed by blanching. Seeds are discarded, as they contain amygdalin, chemically related to cyanide. Fresh loquat undergo a subtle color change when ripe; if picked too soon, fruits are sour. Fruits are eaten fresh, canned or made into jelly.
We will grow loquats in any suitable location.*
Young trees should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Regular irrigation should be applied until trees shown signs of new growth.
Eustrephus is a monotypic genus variously placed in the Luzuriagaeceae, Philesiaceae or Asparagaceae, native to Australia. It is a twining herbaceous perennial vine found in open forests or at the edge of woodlands. The orange berries and small tubers are edible, and have been used by aboriginal groups. The species is receiving attention currently as part of Australia’s “bushfoods” movement.
We will grow Eustrephus in any suitable location.*
Gaultheria is a genus of 180 species in the Ericaceae, native to Asia, the Americas and Australasia. They range from mat-forming perennials to upright shrubs to 10 feet. They are found in soils rich in peat or organic matter, and do best with steady moisture. The berries of some species are flavorful; others are insipid. The leaves are used to make wintergreen tea.
We will grow wintergreen in any suitable location.*
Geitnoplesium is a monotypic genus that has been variously placed in the Hemerocallidaceae, Smilacaceae or Philesiaceae, native to Australia. It is a scrambling vine in forests or along watercourses to 12 feet in height, with narrow lanceolate leaves and pendant white flowers. The new shoots are eaten like asparagus, and the tubers may be edible, similar to the related Eustrephus latifolius.
We will grow Geitnoplesium in any suitable location.*
Plants should be mulched after planting and watered until signs of new growth appear. Some winter protection may be necessary for the first few winters.
Gevuin is an evergreen tree in the Proteaceae, native to Chile and Argentina. The tree occurs in the high valleys of the southern Andes where it grows to a height of 60 ft. The 4-6 in. flower clusters are followed by 1 in. red fruits, ripening to black. Inside the outer husk is a single large seed with a delicate flavor. This close relative of the macadamia is being developed commercially in Chile and New Zealand.
We will grow gevuin in any suitable location.*
Trees should be planted when relatively small, as they resent becoming pot bound. The roots must not be disturbed when planting. Mulch is important to maintain even soil moisture. It may help to prepare the soil with mycorrhizae prior to planting. Avoid feeding with any phosphorus-containing fertilizer.
Holboellia is a genus of 20 species of vining perennials in the Lardizabalaceae, native to southeastern Asia. They are deciduous or evergreen monoecious vines to 25 feet in height. The fruits are sausage-shaped, ripening to purple, with a creamy pulp containing many small seeds. The fruit are much appreciated in the Himalayas, although some garden writers consider the fruit to be bland.
We will grow Holboellia in any suitable location.*
Vine will grow in partial shade to full sun. Mulch and water in well.
Kadsura is a genus of 16 accepted species in the Schisandraceae, native to Asia. They are dioecious or monoecious woody vines that grow from 8 to 30 feet in length. The flowers are borne in the leaf axils or cauliflorous along the female vines. The edible spherical aggregate fruits are from 2 to 6 inches in diameter, and ripen yellow, red or purple. The plant is highly valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
We will grow Kadsura in any suitable location.*
Vines should be grown to 5 gal. size before planting. After planting, mulch thoroughly and water in well. If dioecious species are grown, plant at least one male for every eight female vines, not more than 20 feet apart. Water regularly during the growing season, and fertilize occasionally.
Lardizabala is a monotypic genus of vining perennial in the Lardizabalaceae, native to Chile. It is a vine to 12 feet in height. The plant is not self-fertile, so more than one clone must be grown for fruit. The sweet pulpy fruit is eaten raw or cooked and considered a delicacy in Chile. Most fruit in the village markets come from wild plants, although there is interest in developing commercial production.
We will grow Lardizabala in any suitable location.*
Vines should be planted in spring, mulched, and watered in well. The vine are not drought tolerant.
Lindera is a genus of approximately 100 species in the Lauraceae, largely native to Asia but with three species in North America. They are dioecious evergreen or deciduous trees and shrubs. The fruit are drupes, often fleshy, containing a single seed. Many species are aromatic, and have been used as spices. Many of the species of Lindera are used medicinally and many active compounds are known.
We will grow Lindera in any suitable location.*
Luma is a genus of 2 species in the Myrtaceae, native to temperate forests in southern Chile. The slow-growing evergreen shrubs or trees, 20 to 40 feet can live for centuries. They are valued for their edible fruit and aromatic leaves. The abundant flowers make good bee pasture, the hard dense wood make a hot-burning fuel, and the plant is used medicinally by the Mapuche people.
We will grow Luma in any suitable location.*
Magnolia is an ancient genus of approximately 210 species of flowering trees in the Magnoliaceae, native to Asia and the Americas. They are evergreen or deciduous trees to 60 feet. The structure of the large showy fragrant flowers indicates that they evolved to be pollinated by beetles; Magnolias have existed prior to the evolution of bees. Many species of Magnolia are threatened with extinction. The tree is used medicinally.
We will grow Magnolia in any suitable location.*
Trees should be mulched after planting and watered in well. They should receive regular irrigation until signs of new growth appear.
Mondia whitei is a vining species in the Apocynaceae, native to southern Africa. This plant is endangered due to the overharvesting of the plant for medicinal uses. It is a robust climber arising from a tuberous rootstock; older stems become woody, and all parts yield a milky latex when injured. The rootstock has a licorice-vanilla flavor and is used as a food flavoring, and for many medicinal uses.
We will grow Mondia in any suitable location.*
Panax is a genus of 11 species of herbaceous perennials in the Araliaceae, native to eastern Asia except for one species, P. quinquefolius, native to southeastern North America. The plants grow 6 to 18 inches tall and have compound leaves of three to five leaflets. The fruit is a red berry borne in clusters. Ginseng root is white, carrot-shaped, and fleshy. They take three to five years to reach medicinal maturity.
We will grow ginseng in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Occasional irrigation should continue until signs of new growth appear. Plants go dormant in fall and winter, leafing out in spring and early summer.
Peumus is a monotypic genus in the Monimiaceae, endemic to Chile. It is a slow growing, small tree to 20 feet in height. The aromatic leaves are used as a culinary flavoring and to make medicinal teas. The small green fruits are edible and considered nutritious. Caution should be taken, as the main compound responsible for the leaves aroma is known to be toxic in large doses.
We will grow Peumus in any suitable location.*
Pinellia ternata is a herbaceous perennial in the Araceae, native to eastern Asia. It grows in moist woodlands, sprouting its foliage directly from the rhizomes in the spring. This is followed by the spathe, enclosing the inflorescence in late summer. The medicinal tubers are dug in the fall, and must be properly cured before use. The medicinal quality of the tubers is influenced by mycorrhizal association.
We will grow Pinellia in any suitable location.*
Plants should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Do not water when plants are dormant.
Podophyllum peltatum is a monotypic genus placed variously in the berberidaceae or Podophyllaceae, native to shady woodlands in the S.E. United States. It is a deciduous herbaceous perennial arising from a creeping rhizomatous rootstock. The fleshy fruits are edible although not highly flavored, and the roots yield a resin that is manufactured into cancer treatments and medicines to remove warts.
We will grow mayapple in any suitable location.*
Seedlings can be planted in spring after last frost; rhizome divisions can be planted in fall. Mulch all planting thoroughly and water in well.
Polygala is a genus of 500-600 species of annual and perennial plants, shrubs, vines and trees in the Polygalaceae. They are native to tropical to temperate zones worldwide. Many species are used in herbal medicine, e.g. Polygala senega or Seneca snakeroot is harvested in the eastern U.S and shipped to Europe for use in cough syrups, etc. Many medicinal compounds are known from the genus.
We will grow Polygala in any suitable location.*
Prunus is a genus of approximately 430 species of shrubs and trees in the Rosaceae, found worldwide. The genus contains many species of economic importance including peaches, plums cherries, apricots and almonds. In addition to the cultivated species, wild species are important wildlife food. The species have produced plumcots, apriums, peachcots, etc.
We will grow Prunus in any suitable location.*
Trees should be planted in late winter or early spring, while still dormant. Young trees should be mulched to retain moisture. Fertilizer should be withheld until trees are actively growing.
Rehmannia is a genus of 6 species of herbaceous perennials endemic to China that have variously been placed in the Scrophulariaceae, Gesneriaceae, Plantaginaceae and has finally landed in the Orobanchaceae. They are herbs to 1.5 feet with showy flowers superficially resembling Digitalis. The herb is used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory against arthritis and as a neuroprotectant.
We will grow Rehmannia in any suitable location.*
Rehmannia should be thoroughly mulched after planting and watered in well. Regular irrigation should continue until signs of new growth appear.
Salvia is a genus of approximately 900 species of herbs or woody shrubs in the Lamiaceae, native to the Old World and the Americas. They are annuals, biennials or perennials. The plants have oil glands that release volatile oils, giving them a strong aroma that varies among the species. Because of these oils, the plants are used in cooking, as companion plants to repel insects, and medicinally.
We will grow salvia in any suitable location.*
Schisandra is a genus of 23 accepted species in the Schisandraceae, native to eastern Asia. They are deciduous woody dioecious vines, bearing clusters of red pendant berries on the female vines. These plants are considered an important medicinal food in most Asian countries. They are used as an adaptogen which shows positive effects on the immune, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.
We will grow Schisandra in any suitable location.*
Scutellaria is a genus of approximately 350 species of herbaceous annual or perennial plants in the Lamiaceae, native to temperate to subtropical regions worldwide. Plants range from 2 inches to 3 feet in height, with square stems and opposite leaves. The flowers have an upper and lower lip, and a typical shield on the calyx that gives the genus its common name of “skullcap”. Many species are used medicinally.
We will grow Scutellaria in any suitable location.*
Sinofranchetia is a monotypic genus in the Lardizabalaceae, native to China. It is a deciduous dioecious vine to 40 feet in height. It is found growing at forest edge. The purple berries can be produced on female vines in the absence of a male, but the fruits will be seedless. The stems of the vine are used in TCM to treat joint pain and gout; compounds have been found that are xanthine oxidase inhibitors.
We will grow Sinofranchetia in any suitable location.*
Vines should be mulched and watered in well.
Smilax is a genus of approximately 350 species of twining dioecious vines in the Smilacaceae, native to temperate to tropical regions worldwide. They occur under trees or at forest edges, rising from rhizomatous rootstocks. These rootstocks are the source of sarsaparilla flavoring, and yield a medicinal herb used as a tonic, and to treat premenstrual syndrome. The roots yield a number of phytosterols.
We will grow Smilax in any suitable location.*
Sorbus is a genus of approximately 200 species in the Rosaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are deciduous shrubs or trees to 40 feet. The yellow-white blossoms produce abundant nectar from the red-orange fleshy fruits. These are important food for wildlife, people and the leaves and twigs are browse for many animals. The plant coppices well and makes a good pioneer.
We will grow Sorbus in any suitable location.*
Vaccinium is a genus of approximately 450 species in the Ericaceae, native mainly to the cooler areas of the Northern hemisphere. This plant ranges in habit from creeping ground covers to upright shrubs to 6 feet. They are usually found in acid soils, such as peat bogs, or as an understory plant under pines and oaks, whose leaf litter creates an acid mulch. The fruit is a red to blue edible berry.
We will grow blueberries in any suitable location.*
Here are the results of our research for purchasing all food forest and outdoor plants. Unlike everything we will be growing in the aquapini and walipini structures and large-scale garden, we did not price out each individual plant listed here because we wish to wait for the specific planting plan that will be developed throughout the first year of the living on the property; a planting plan that may evolve this list significantly. We did, however, complete sufficient research so that anyone wishing to purchase any of the plants currently listed above will can do so.
We use the following key for all of the plant providers listed below. To jump directly to what you seek, use your browser’s Find Function and remember to put the parenthesis around the letter code for the category you are looking for. Here are the abbreviations with short descriptions of all the categories you will find:
Apples will be an important component of One Community’s Food Forest. We will work to achieve maximum diversity of this important fruit. Any provider listed with an “(A)” is a good source to support anyone interested in growing a diversity of apples.
Websites listed with “(B)” are sources of plants that are of interest to our open source Botanical Garden model and the preservation of biodiversity. Look to these sources if you are interested in the preservation of biodiversity too.
Bamboo has a broad diversity of uses. Any providers listed with a “(Bb)” offer bamboo plants.
Garlic is food, medicine, flavoring…an essential plant to any community. Mmmm…garlic!
Websites listed with “(M)” are sources of plant with a history of medicinal use.
“(O)” providers are website sources of fruits that will be cultivated in mixed polyculture orchards at One Community.
Providers listed with a “(TP)” provide plants that, in our case, will be limited to the Aquapini/Walapini/Zenapini structures. They may be fruit, medicinal, culinary, etc.
“(Tr)” providers supply trees for Community forest plantings.
Providers listed with a “(V)” are sites and sources of seeds and plants that will be grown in the community’s food gardens.
Providers listed with a “(W)” are website sources of plant that will be components of Zone 3 and beyond; food plant that do not require much tending or cultivation.
www.sacredsucculents.com (B) (G) (M) (Tr) (V) (W)
Ben Kamm’s collection of useful species includes much more than succulent genera, including California natives, Chilean species, wild food plants, and many little-known or hard to find medicinal plants. Many offerings are available nowhere else. Most have provenance data, describing where they were collected, ecotype, uses, etc. An excellent resource. Limited volume, most propagules are sold out early in the season.
www.centuryfarmorchards.com (A) (O)
Century Farm Orchards is a small commercial nursery dedicated to preserving and disseminating the apple collection of Lee Calhoun, who spent decades locating old apples of the American South. They are the only commercial source for many of these varieties. Not all varieties are propagated for sale every year, so it is advisable to contact them to place orders early. Their web site has excellent descriptions of these apples, their origins, flavors, keeping qualities etc.
www.ars.usda.gov (A) (O)
The National Agricultural Research Service is a department of the USDA. The center at Geneva, New York is associated with Cornell University, and is the repository of the nations collections of apple, grape, and tart cherry varieties. Nearly 7000 apples are maintained here, and are used in breeding programs. Small amounts of dormant budwood are available for many varieties. An important global resource.
www.tropicalfruitforum.com (M) (Tp)
This chat board is one of the best resources for anyone interested in growing tropical or subtropical fruit. Its worldwide membership includes plant breeders, backyard growers, commercial orchardists etc. They have an exchange page where members can buy, sell and trade from their collections. There are many varieties and species held among the membership that are not available from commercial sources.
www.colecionandofrutas.org (M) (Tp)
This is the website of Helton Josue, a Brazilian scientist whose passion for preserving the wild food plants of his region of Brazil has led him to collect and share a wide range of species that are unavailable elsewhere, several are species new to science and have not been formally described. He makes small lots of seed available as they ripen.
www.ecoseeds.com (M) (V) (W)
This is the website of the Redwood City Seed Company, one of the original heirloom seed sellers. Since 1972 Craig and Sue Dremenn have introduced hundreds of valuable varieties of garden vegetables to American gardeners.
www.jlhudsonseeds.net (B) (M) (Tr) (W)
Founded in 1911, J.L. Hudson, Seedsman has for over the last 30 years been operated by David Theodoropolos and Sherri Calkins who are committed to the motto “Preservation through dissemination” Their catalog is always a fascinating read, describing the history, biology, ethnobotany, chemistry etc. for many of the hundreds of species offered. A pioneering company, worthy of support.
www.4everseeds.com (M) (V) (W)
Source of heirloom seeds, wild food seeds, and dye plant seeds. They also market a hand operated oilseed press.
Offers over 600 varieties of heirloom tomatoes.
www.seedsavers.org (M) (V) (W)
Founded in 1975 by Kent Whealy and his family to share some of his own family’s heirloom garden seeds, SSE has grown into the largest grassroots seed preservation organization in the country. Access is by membership. They maintain a demonstration farm in Decorah Iowa and in addition to several thousand varieties of vegetables, they also have a Heritage Orchard of some 400 regional apple varieties, and 360 varieties of grape varieties from the famous grape breeder Elmer Swenson.
A real family farm, the Sandhill Preservation Center maintains hundreds of vegetable and grain varieties, as well as poultry breeds. They also have an extensive collection of sweet potato varieties and will share their techniques for successfully growing them in colder northern climates.
www.oikostreecrops.com (Tr) (W)
Sells seedlings of many temperate zone food forest species. has a particularly good selection of oaks, both timber and acorn types.
www.lawyernursery.com (M) (Tr) (W)
Wholesale nursery offering tree and shrubs seedlings and bulk seed of many common species to forestry projects and revegetation projects. Also fruit tree rootstocks in bulk and at good prices.
www.ediblelandscaping.com (M) (O) (Tr) (V) (W)
Good varietal selection of many standard and unusual food perennials.
www.bonitafruittrees.com (O) (Tp)
Extensive collection of subtropical and deciduous fruit trees.
www.rollingrivernursery.com (O) (Tr)
Fruit and nut tree nursery.
Main producer of avocado, citrus and subtropical fruit trees for commercial California groves.
Source of many rare tropical fruit tree species. Based in Hawaii but ships in bulk to Excalibur Nursery in Florida.
www.dnagardens.com (V) (W)
Canadian nursery that is the licensed propagator for the new “Ben” series of black currants.
Canadian vegetable seed supplier.
Nursery specializing in the production of trees inoculated with the endomycorrhizal fungi producing black and white truffles. The mycelia web in forest ecosystems is an important design element in evolving a food forest, as many tree species are benefitted by mycorrhizal association with certain fungal symbionts.
www.filareefarm.com (G) (V)
Seed garlic and potatoes.
Seed garlic providers.
Canadian source of seed garlic.
www.richters.com (M) (V)
Canadian company offering medicinal plants and culinary herbs, either live plants or seeds. An excellent resource for the herb garden.
www.companionplants.com (M) (W)
Herbs, medicinals, culinary and dye plants and seeds.
www.yerbabuenanursery.com (B) (M) (W)
A significant percent of California native plants were used medicinally and this provider specializes in them and supplies information on traditional medicinal usage.
Nursery supplying ginseng rootlets for planting as well as bloodroot.
www.rareplantnursery.net (M) (V)
Herb and garden plant nursery. A few vegetable and fruit plants as well.
California-based collection of medicinal plants. They list many rare species not widely available.
Florida-based nursery offering many uncommon subtropical herbs.
www.plantdelights.com (M) (W)
Texas nursery offering a wide variety of unusual plants including medicinal, food, bee pasture etc.
www.arneherbs.co.uk (M) (W)
UK source for over 900 herbs and wildflowers. Unknown if they ship outside the UK.
Massachusetts nursery dedicated to the reservation of at-risk medicinal plants.
Oregon nursery with a range of culinary and medicinal herbs.
www.mountaingardensherbs.com (M) (W)
Herbalists that offer workshops in Chinese herb cultivation, harvesting, processing and use. Grow a wide range of TCM herbs offered as seed and plants. Have a number of herbs unavailable elsewhere in North America.Also offers wild food plant of both the eastern U.S and a collection od ‘sansai’ – traditional wild mountain vegetables of Japan.
www.blackfootnativeplants.com (M) (W)
Montana nursery specializing in plants native to the bioregion including wild food and medicinal species.
www.silverhillseeds.co.za (B) (M) (W)
Seed company in South Africa offering a wide range of S.A natives including wild food and medicinal species. Seed is mainly collected from wild stands. Valuable source of some species unavailable outside Africa.
www.hawaiiantropicalplants.com (M) (Tp)
This Hawaiian nursery has some rare tropical medicinals, including yoco and cultivars of kava.
www.treefrogfarm.com (M) (W)
Pacific Northwest natives nursery including medicinal and wild food species.
www.horizonherbs.com (M) (W)
Since 1985 Richo Cech and his family have been collection growing and using plants on their Oregon farm. They offer a wide range of vegetable, culinary and medicinal seeds, roots and tubers.
www.heritageflowerfarm.com (B) (M)
Wide range of perennials, some with medicinal properties although this may not be noted on the website.
www.forestfarm.com (M) (Tr) (W)
Large wholesale nursery of tree shrub and fruit tree stock.
www.rareplantresearch.com (B) (M) (W)
Offering a selection of mostly tender arid-zone species with a particularly good collection of Burseraceae.
Nursery offering mainly subtropical and tropical trees and shrubs including some rarities.
www.msknursery.com (B) (M) (Tr) (W)
Wide selection of trees shrubs and perennial including some rarities.
www.nolinnursery.com (O) (Tr)
Nut trees, persimmons, and pawpaws.
www.wagonwheelorchard.com (A) (O)
Offering over 1,000 apple varieties as benchgrafts.
www.justfruitsandexotics.com (O) (W)
Good varietal selection of many unusual fruits.
www.kuffelcreek.com (A) (O)
California nursery offering low-chill apple varieties for mild winter climates.
www.sunscapes.net (B) (M) (W)
Colorado nursery offering mostly drought tolerant perennials.
Baker Creek Seeds is an heirloom vegetable seed company offering a wide range of varieties.
California heirloom seed company offering organic seed for over 1600 varieties of vegetable,grain, herb and cover crop seed.
Heirloom vegetable, herb, grain seeds.
www.seedsofchange.com (M) (V)
Offering vegetable, herb and flower seed.
Maine company offering short-season and greenhouse adapted vegetable seed and berry plants. www.kitazawaseed.com (V)
Seed company offering a wide range of Asian vegetables, especially leafy greens. Lists species that are difficult to find elsewhere; pickling melon, water pepper, perilla, water dropwort, etc.
www.vermontbean.com (V) (G)
Seed company offering heirloom and open-pollinated vegetable seed, garlic and berry plants.
www.noursefarms.com (V) (O)
Since 1932, Nourse farms has been a supplier of cane berry, strawberry, rhubarb and asparagus plants.
www.agroforestry.co.uk (M) (W)
UK based company offering an extensive range of edible and medicinal temperate trees shrubs and perennials.
www.badgersett.com (Tr) (W)
Minnesota nursery and private research organization developing nut trees. Offering chestnuts hazels, hickories and pecans. Bred especially to withstand colder climates.
www.csr-inc.com (M) (W)
Conservation Seeding and Restoration Inc. is a seed company and nursery offering seed mixes and native plant revegetation services for the mountain west. Their species list includes wild food plants and medicinal species.
www.permaculturenursery.com (M) (W)
Offering some unusual edible perennials, including Phaseolus polystachyos, a perennial bean species.
www.onegreenworld.com (M) (O) (W)
Wide selection of edible species for temperate climates.
Gary Nabham’s pioneering organization dedicated to preserving the food plants of Native American cultures in the Sonoran Desert region.
Fruit tree nursery specializing in heirloom fruit varieties.
www.tierramadrefarm.com (A) (O)
Offers a wide range of temperate fruit trees. Has a particularly nice collection of of European pear varieties.
www.oldvaapples.com (A) (O)
Fruit tree nursery with a focus on the heritage apples of Virginia. Many unique varieties.
www.arboreumco.com (A) (O)
California nursery offering many rare and heirloom fruit varieties. One of the only sources of improved cultivars of tecojote (Crataegus mexicana).
Located in Puerto Rico, Montoso Gardens supplies many rare tropical fruit trees and seeds from their collection.
Also in Puerto Rico, Sadhu Govardhan has an extensive collection of tropical fruit and food trees. He sell seeds and plants.
One of the largest collection of banana varieties available for sale. Rooted corms or tissue culture.
www.floridahillnursery.com (M) (Tp)
Located in Orlando Florida, they have an extensive collection of banana and pineapple varieties reproduced via tissue culture. Also other tropical ornamentals and gingers.
Florida nursery offering a wide selection of tropical and subtropical fruiting plants. Has a good selection of jackfruit varieties.
www.desertsurvivors.org (M) (W)
Southern Arizona native plant nursery. Lists some rare desert edible and medicinal species.
Medicinal herb nursery.
www.australianplants.com (Bb) (W)
Located in Southern California, they offer a range of hard-to-find Australian and South African species for xeriscaping and mediterranean gardens.
www.bamboogarden.com (Bb) (W)
Oregon nursery specializing in bamboo.
www.bamboodirect.com (Bb) (W)
Oregon nursery specializing in bamboo.
www.bamboosourcery.com (Bb) (W)
California nursery specializing in bamboo.
www.walkeravenuenursery.com (Bb) (M) (W)
California nursery specializing in aquatic and bog plants including many edible and medicinal species.
www.raintreenursery.com (Bb) (M) (Tr) (V)
Located in Morton Washington, they offer fruit trees, nut trees, berries, vines, citrus, subtropicals, rootstocks, mushrooms and ornamentals.www.burntridgenursery.com (Bb) (Tr)
Located in the foothills of the Cascade mountains. Specialize in unusual and disease resistant trees, vines, and shrubs that produce edible nuts or fruits. Has Northwest native plants and ornamental and useful landscape trees.
Through applied permaculture principles and proper stewardship it is possible to turn almost any piece of land into an abundant and thriving forest of food. As part of One Community’s Highest Good of All philosophy, and open source botanical garden model, we will be open source sharing our afforestation/reforestation experience as we create our food forest on the One Community property. This process will continue indefinitely and we will keep on-going records of this transformation through detailed notes and time-lapse videos (covering years of development) that we will add to this page as they are completed.
Q: How do you intend to evolve this page?
Part of One Community’s Highest Good of All philosophy is open source sharing the complete details of what is possible with a food forest. Through our open source botanical garden model we will accession all plants on the property and entering the property and then keep detailed records of:
All of these details will be added and updated on this page indefinitely along with answers to questions raised by visitors to the property and this site.
Q: What if I have a suggestion for that I feel would be valuable to add to this page?
Q: Why are all the names listed in latin?
Latin names are used first because they are universally accepted with common names following in parenthesis.